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Alex Zagoreos is clearly proud to be milling the 7" x 7" beams needed to repair the barn sills at Jermain Hill Farm in White Creek. "It's such a pleasure when you're able to take the timber right from your own woods and see it transformed for use on the farm." He and his wife Marine and several partners bought this beautiful 319-acre farm, which connects the Mount Tom State Reforestation Area to the Little White Creek, in 1977.
Although they travelled a lot and were busy raising three children, Alex and Marine fell in love with the farm and eventually bought out the partners and leased land to a local dairy farmer. They lived in New York City and spent weekends and summers in White Creek. Marine, who grew up in Brittany, France, calls the farm heaven. "It's so different here than where I grew up—there's so much open space and wilderness. I would rather be here than anywhere else."
Marine is an avid gardener and raises orchids in her greenhouse. The couple shares an interest in birds. They manage some of their land for grassland and song bird habitat, leaving a few fields uncut until July when the nesting period is over. An ornithologist who visited the farm recently counted 75 distinct bird species including two golden eagles which Alex and Marine see regularly.
Inspiration to conserve came naturally to the Zagoreoses. Alex served as chair of Scenic Hudson, a land trust serving the lower Hudson River Valley, and treasurer of Riverkeeper, an organization dedicated to protecting the Hudson River. He is currently chair of Audubon New York and believes strongly in protecting the natural resources that make New York such a rich state.
He and Marine have more time to dedicate to the farm now and have started a herd of grass-fed Hereford beef cows which they will be marketing this fall. They made the important decision to donate an easement on their farm because, as Marine put it, "We love it so much that we want to make sure to leave something that won't change much for our children, their children, or whoever's children are here to take care of it."
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